Since ancient times people have had to deal with runny and stuffy noses, coughs, body aches, chills, and all the other unpleasantness that accompanies being bitten by a winter bug. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are ways to make the symptoms a little more manageable and many of them are based on traditional home remedies .
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest traditional medicines in the world. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and continues to be used around the world today. This system could be seen as an operating manual for the interconnected body, mind, and spirit. Herbal compounds, special diets, exercises, and lifestyle practices unite to create an alternative or complement to mainstream medical care.
Ancient Ayurvedic Texts: The Great Trilogy
The word Ayurveda may be translated from Sanskrit as “the science/ knowledge of life.” Many Ayurvedic practices predate written records and were passed down orally from master to student. The earliest written records of Ayurvedic medicine can be found in the sacred historical texts known as the Vedas. The original texts of Ayurvedic medicine, however, are thought to be the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita , both of which are believed by some to date as far back as the 11th century BC.
Another important text for our current understanding of Ayurvedic medicine is the Ashtangi Hridaya . Together, these three ancient texts are known as the Brhattrayi or “Great Triad/Trilogy,” and it is from them that the basic principles and theories of modern Ayurvedic medicine are derived. Even today, the majority of India’s population continues to practice some aspects of Ayurvedic medicine, usually in conjunction with Western medicine. Several studies have been conducted over the years on the effectiveness of various Ayurvedic treatments and some of the results have been very promising and positive.
Ayurvedic practitioners say that every person has their own prakruti (constitution), which is comprised of a balance of the three doshas (vital energies): vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (water). When there is an imbalance between the doshas, psychological or physiological illnesses may occur. Colds, mucus, and congestion are often linked with an unbalanced kapha, so Ayurvedic medicine suggests an increase in pitta through the consumption of “hot” foods such as ginger.
Ginger, honey, eucalyptus and the use of nasal irrigation have all seen some support by scientific studies . Here are three simple Ayurvedic recipes for remedies that have been used over the centuries to help manage common cold symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, headache, sore throat, chest congestion, body pain, fatigue, and more.